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SMC Basketball: Belles look to rise in standings

Laura Coletti | Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Saint Mary’s continues its second round of MIAA Conference play when it faces Olivet tonight at 7:30.

The Belles (12-6, 5-4) are looking to rebound from a 74-60 road loss to Calvin over the weekend. They defeated Olivet (6-11, 5-4) once already during the 2010-11 season, a 72-67 victory away from home. The winner of tonight’s game will move into sole possession of fourth place in conference standings, behind only Calvin (9-0), Hope (8-1), and Albion (6-2).

Belles Coach Jenn Henley said she liked parts of what she saw in her team against Calvin, even if the outcome was a loss.

“We got good looks in our offense against Calvin in the first half,” Henley said. “Our shots just weren’t falling.”

Henley said she feels confident in her squad entering tonight’s game.

“Last time we played Olivet, we did a good job forcing them into turnovers,” Henley said. “Unfortunately, we had turnovers as well, which kept it a close game. As we prepare to play them tomorrow, we need to cut down our turnovers. We need to do a better job of defending the drive against Olivet and limit the number of points they get in the paint.”

Junior forward Kelley Murphy led a balanced attack for the Belles with 24 points the last time they faced Olivet. Three other players reached double-figures in scoring during the contest, and the four together combined for all but nine of Saint Mary’s points.

“We have a pretty balanced attack on offense, so I can’t really pick out one person in particular [to lead us offensively],” Henley said. “We as a team need to step up our defense if we want to be successful. Tomorrow is all about defense. It has really been a focus of ours all season long.”

Henley expects the game to be close, and knows what her team has to do in order to achieve the outcome they are looking for.

“Olivet always plays us tough,” she said. “They do a nice job of attacking the paint in their offense. We really need to focus on that and keep them off the foul line.”